10 Reasons Why Your French Bulldog “Stinks”

by Stuart | Last Updated:   May 18, 2021
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No one likes to  go in for a nice cuddle with their fur baby, only to be hit by a big wave of a nasty smell. It’s not very pleasant to handle a French Bulldog that smells bad, but some people choose to get used to it and live with it rather than do anything about it.

Like most dogs, French Bulldogs do have a particular “doggy” odor, but this smell can be much worse if your dog isn’t cleaned properly or has certain health issues. Taking care of your dog’s hygiene like their ears, feet, and facial folds is essential for preventing them from smelling bad.

French Bulldogs require regular cleaning around their skin folds or they’ll begin to smell very bad (due to yeast and mould growth) and some other health issues may begin to appear.

French Bulldogs also develop doggy odor quickly due to the short length of their coat.

French Bulldog standing in the middle of a mess of garbage staring at camera

Why Do French Bulldogs Smell?

The first thing you should do is figure out what’s causing your Frenchie to smell and do what you can to fix it. We have listed some common causes of these odor problems, so take a look through them and see if you can figure out what’s causing your Frenchie to smell.

1. Poor Diet:

Poor diet is a very common cause of foul odors, as bad foods can lead to bad smells. Feeding your French Bulldog a diet that consists of low-quality and cheap foods can have a major impact on their flatulence, their breath, and how their skin/coat smells.

If you want to improve the overall health and smell of your Frenchie, you need to feed him a diet that consists of high-quality ingredients and nutritious foods (click to view Ollie’s fresh dog food). Try to experiment with different kinds of diets so you can know which one works best for your pal. Try fresh food specially formulated for your dog for the best results. 

2. Staying Damp for Too Long

If you are someone who lets their Frenchie air dry after a bath or a swim, then you are inviting nasty bacteria to grow on their skin. A warm and moist environment is ideal for bacteria to grow and thrive. This bacteria leads to a bad odor, a dirty Frenchie, and can lead to infection if your dog has any small cuts you haven’t noticed.

So, make sure to properly dry your French Bulldog any time they get wet. You can easily do this with a towel or a hairdryer on a low – medium heat setting, or you can also purchase a commercial dog dryer for convenience and efficiency.

3. Unhygienic Environment

When a French Bulldog spends a lot of time in an unhygienic environment, you can easily tell from its fur. Any dirt, debris, or smells in the air will cling to their coat and you will suddenly notice a dirty and foul-smelling dog.

Try your best to avoid letting your French Bulldog roam anywhere he pleases, especially places that might leave him smelling bad or getting into elements that may make him sick.

4. Unwashed Bedding

If your French Bulldog’s bed is left unwashed for several weeks at a time, it might be the cause of bad odor. Without regular cleaning, dried skin, hair, dirt, and debris will quickly accumulate on the bed leading to an abundant feeding ground on which bacteria will thrive.

That bacteria and resultant bad smell will rub on your dog and make him smell bad. Make sure that you wash your Frenchie’s bed at least every two weeks, but once a week is preferable. 

5. Dirty Ears

French Bulldog’s ears can get dirty easily and could be the cause of a bad smell. Whether it’s dead skin cells, excess wax, or bacteria, your Frenchie’s ears need to have a good cleaning regularly (any time you see dirt on the outside and at least once a month on the inside). Clean ears will minimize the risks of smells or infections.

6. Anal Glands

The anal gland could be the worse smelling region of your French Bulldog. If you notice a strong fishy smell and your Frenchie is dragging their rear across the floor or frequently licking it, then anal glands might be the culprits.

You may have to take your pet to the vet to have the anal glands “expressed”, which will greatly decrease both the smell and your dog’s discomfort.

7. Yeast Infection

If you notice that your French Bulldog has inflamed skin, is itching profoundly, and smells more than usual, he might have a yeast infection. Dogs with a yeast infection often smell like popcorn or corn chips. A yeast infection can take time to get rid of and it is important to treat it as soon as you notice symptoms, so that it does not worsen.

Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your Frenchie of having a yeast infection. Make sure you have pet insurance (click here to get a free quote) for your furry buddy to avoid an unforeseen, high vet bill!

8. Skin Folds & Wrinkles

A French Bulldog’s skin folds tend to hold bacteria, as well as food, so they can start to smell if the folds aren’t cleaned regularly. Folds that are left uncleaned for too long can become irritated and infected, leading to further problems.

Ideally, you should be cleaning your French Bulldog’s facial folds daily or every two days at least. Body folds should be cleaned at least weekly.

9. Dirty Paws

Since your Frenchie’s paws are always in contact with something, they can easily start to smell when they inevitably step in something dirty.

Whether it’s a spill, wet floor, food, or mud, it often invites bacteria to grow on their paws and, over time, creates a nasty odor. So make sure you regularly clean your buddy’s paws with warm water and dry them thoroughly.

10. Flatulence

Frenchies are known for their flatulence. It’s an awful smell and hits you suddenly. The most common cause of flatulence is the food you are giving your dog. Some foods might not be properly digested by your French Bulldogs, so they produce a lot of gas. Experiment with what you’re feeding your French Bulldog to see what works best.

Do All French Bulldogs Smell Bad?

All Frenchies are different, each with a unique lifestyle. All this affects how badly they may smell. But unlike other dog breeds, all French Bulldogs are prone to smell bad if not properly cared for.

Almost all French Bulldogs have that particular doggy smell, and their owners quickly get used to it. But remember that it’s just not the doggy smell you need to worry about, as many other smells can come from your French Bulldog.

The factors that determine how much your French Bulldog smells could be medical, dietary, or just how well you care for them. Not all French Bulldogs smell bad, but it’s related to their overall health and how well their owner takes care of them.

How To Keep Your French Bulldogs Fresh & Clean?

To keep your Frenchies feeling clean and fresh, you need regular grooming sessions. 

Let’s go through the different body parts of your French Bulldog you need to groom and why you have to do so.

1. Facial Folds & Wrinkles

Although French Bulldogs are known for cute facial wrinkles, they usually come with a price. These folds get infected easily if you don’t clean them out regularly. Without proper cleaning, it can lead to a bad smell and further health issues.

Food can become trapped in your Frenchie’s folds, which creates an ideal environment for bacteria to develop and thrive. You should try to clean your French Bulldog’s facial wrinkles daily. This can be done with a Q-tip and a gentle cloth.

2. Ears

Frenchie’s “bat like” ears are prone to catching pollen, dirt, etc. This means that they can get dirty very quickly, so you need to clean your Frenchie’s ears regularly. However, you should avoid using Q-tips as you risk causing an injury if you perforate the eardrum. Cotton balls are much safer and are more effective at removing dirt and debris.

3. Coat & Skin

Taking care of your French Bulldog’s coat will help to keep smells away. By bathing and grooming regularly their fur is less likely to get to the point where it smells bad. If you’re dealing with a smelly French Bulldog, it might just be that their skin or coat is giving off a bad smell, so the best thing you can do is to give your dog a good clean.

You need to use a high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner and be giving them a thorough cleaning. As mentioned above, make sure you dry them off thoroughly after a bath. 

You should also brush your Frenchie regularly. Giving your French Bulldog a good brush once a week should be enough to remove any dirt, debris, or dead hair.

4. Paws

Since Frenchies are always on their feet, they’re bound to step in some things that could cause their paws to start to smell. Anything dirty or moist could cause a foul smell with enough time.

If you do notice a smell coming from your French Bulldog’s feet. All you need to do is give them a thorough wash with warm water and gentle soap.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this list of possible “smell factors” will be of great help to you and your Frenchie as you both strive to avoid unwanted and unpleasant odors from taking hold of your house. If you have tried these tips and are still finding that there are strange or bad smells coming from your dog, it may be time to speak with your vet to see if something else is at play.

If you follow our hygiene tips, you and your Frenchie should be on your way to a clean and stink free life! 

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Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.